How in the world did another year pass by? Here we are, staring 2016 smack in the face, wondering how it was JUST JULY yet we're two days away from JANUARY. 2015 ushered in a plethora of newness, - some good, some not-so-good - for many in the SHINEfamily.

2016? It's still a few days away. It's shiny and new and smells like joy and unicorns and cake. So full of promise and hope for all the giants we can slay and mountains we can conquer. But if we're not careful, 12 months from now we'll be wondering how another year went by while we were blinking. So I have a plan. { Every year I have a plan. } Sometimes life goes according to that plan. Sometimes God takes my plan and shakes up my little snow globe world until it lines up with His.

So you're asking, if life is great, why do you need a plan? That reminds me of Deuteronomy 1:6, "The Lord our God said to us in Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain.' " He doesn't want us to stay put. Goals and plans help us stretch our legs and achieve not only our own goals and dreams, but His too! (Want to shake things up a bit? Ask God what HIS goals are for you. That is a crazy-big leap of faith, I assure you!)

One of my favorite ways to ring in the new year is to take stock of the current one. Any direction request on Google maps needs an end point and a starting point. And it's the same with us - it doesn't really matter whether you like where you are, or whether you don't. It just matters that you know where right-here-right-now is so you know the direction you're going.

Here's what I do - how I plan. Call me crazy, but it works for me.

Step 1, I look at the entire last year. Maybe I look at journals, or my planner, or church sermon doodles, or IG pics. I write down the highlights, the things I loved, the moments that brought me joy, and the moments I brought *others* joy. I look at the places we visited, the people we loved, the lessons we learned, and where we served. I look at not just the things I want to keep doing for the next year, but also the things I want to be different. And then I pull out a new paper planner (because while technology is GREAT, I am a paper girl at heart) and set goals for the new year. Business goals. Relationship goals. Personal goals. Lifestyle goals. Even faith goals.

Btw, try not to think about all the things you coulda, shoulda, woulda, or didn't do. I try not to think about how I have yet to scrapbook the kids' 5th year of life. Or 6th through 9th. Or lost that 20 lbs of ahem, baby weight from my kids who are now in middle school. I'm tellin ya.

Step 2, I pray big prayers and make big goals. Plain and simple. I think about the me I want to be in 2016, and then I set goals that look like future me. Goals that, at the end of next year, I would be proud of if I accomplished them. Goals that, at the end of the year, GOD would be proud of if I accomplished them. So who do you want to be next year? Make a goal or two or ten and let's get there together.

Step 3, Got goals? Yes? Now each goal has a plan to get there. Because a goal without a plan is just a wish, right? Here's an example: those twenty pounds? They may or may not be more than twenty. But this year I thought I'd actually make an effort to lose it, rather than just talk about it. I let my cousin talk me into registering for a 5k in February. So now that I have my goal (lose x pounds) I have a plan to get there. Goal: lose 20ish (ahem, cough cough) pounds. Plan: let cousin talk me into a race, sign up for said race, buy running shoes… at some point I'm going to put those shoes on and move around in them. It's in the plan, trust me, because that 5k is right around the corner. Y'all pray for me because until now, I only ran when things were chasing me.

And then - here's the kicker - I keep all my goals in front of me so I can chip away at them every week. I look at them on paper, and because I'm a visual girl and need something in front of my face all.the.time, I have this arrow necklace.


It keeps me focused on my goals when I get distracted with life, and reminds me not to stay parked too long in my personal Horeb. And because it curves up to the heavens? It reminds me that ultimately, all of my goals should bring me closer to Him.

So what do you think? 2016 is your year to shine! Are you ready to hop off the mountain and conquer the world? You can do it. Let's go!


SHINEblog Editor